Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting bureaus, recently fell victim to an hacking incident in which 143 million credit records where stolen.
The sensitive personal information exposed in this data breach included: Names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and in some instances, credit card numbers. Whether or not your were affected by this data breach, being proactive is essential to preventing a potential scam. Here are some precautions to take now to monitor and protect your identity.
Visit Equifax's website at www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. Click on the potential impact tab and follow their instructions. The site will tell you if you've been affected by this breach.
You can check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for free — by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Credit reports show personal information as well as lines of credit and accounts. We recommend staggering the review by pulling one report every 4 months, to catch any "new" or suspicious accounts quickly. Beware of look-a-like sites or other sites that try to sell a credit report or offer a “free” report in exchange for a subscription to a service.
Sign up for credit monitoring from a reputable organization and review your bank accounts daily. Look for any charges you don't recognize. Make it easy by signing up for Online Banking and downloading the FCCU mobile app for Apple (iOS) and Google (Android) devices today.
One recommendation to keep your credit safe is placing a security freeze on your credit report at all three credit reporting bureaus. You will be given a PIN number and will be required to give that PIN to thaw or unfreeze a report when needed, such as applying for new credit. A small fee will be incurred when freezing and unfreezing a report.
Place a Security Freeze by visiting these direct links or calling the bureaus:
Equifax: 1.800.349.9960 Experian: 1.888.397.3742 TransUnion: 1.888.909.8872
If you choose to not put a freeze on your credit report, another option is to place a fraud alert instead by contacting one of these agencies and requesting that the information be passed on to the other two agencies. A fraud alert requires potential creditors to contact the consumer and obtain permission to open a new account or lines of credit. A fraud alert lasts for 90 days. After that time, you will have to call to reinstate it.
Place a fraud alert by visiting these direct links or calling the bureaus:
Equifax: 1.800.525.6285 Experian: 1.888.397.3742 TransUnion: 1.800.680.7289